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back to article Taiwan mislays millions of honeybees

Taiwan's beekeepers are reporting the mass disappearance of millions of honeybees, Reuters reports. According to the country's TVBS television station, around 10 million bees have gone awol in the last two months, with farmers in three regions reporting heavy losses. One beekeeper on the northeast coast told the United Daily …

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Douglas got it wrong..

it wasn't the dolphins. The bees have gotten wind of something...

so long and thanks for all the smokes...

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TNT

GM Crops

..of course this couldn't possibly have anything to do with the deployment of GM crops in both the UK and Taiwan. Perish the thought...

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Let's not blame this on GM just yet

I'm not a big fan of GM crops, but the fact that this has appeared in so many different places in the US at the same time is strongly suggestive of a non-GM cause. I personally have a friend who keeps bees in Maine who is quite a long distance from the nearest GM crops, and has had this affect him.

I think the precautionary principle should certainly be used in the area of GM crops, but to instantly assume that they are to blame for this is simply a kind of reverse wish fulfillment, where every problem that happens must be related to the thing one hates.

Incidentally, there was a similar problem with bee colonies dying off in the US ten to fifteen years ago, and it was discovered to be a couple kinds of mites. (Varroa and tracheal, to be precise.) Presumably it's not a new kind of mite, this time, though, because the problem is traveling differently and mites aren't that hard to find once you know what you're looking for.

-fred

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CCD - A lot of Speculation

The loss of bees to CCD is not the same as other losses due to disease, mites or environment. In the case of CCD, bees are fine, they leave the hive to collect their nectar and never return. Thus, there are no dead bees around the hive. Only the queen and some drones remain behind. The young workers and the older workers just disappear.

What is also strange is that typical hive predators such as the wax moth, small hive beetle and such do not attack a hive that has been hit with CCD. These normal predators would invade an abandoned hive quickly but with CCD they do not.

This is a new problem and a lot of research is going into it but we know that the cause is Not Cell Phones and other reported phenominea because thousands of hives are not located near people or cell phone towers.

Beekeepers are considering not transporting their hives for pollination because they don't want to pick up a disease somewhere and then bring it home to their other hives. They also don't want to risk spreading any diseases to locations that are currently clean.

There is a lot that is not known and very little that is known but progress is being made in at least figuring out what is not causing CCD. Most likely, it will be the cause of many factors working together.

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WTH

GM foods are not the evil of the world. If you didn't know you were eating GM food, you wouldn't be able to tell the difference. There is almost no difference from GM food, than from food altered through cross breeding, in effect, it's the same result.

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Let's not blame GM at all.

For the life of me I don't understand why people have such a problem with GM crops. In all the cases I have encountered, they have been healthier for you, tasted better, grown bigger, been more resistant to disease and pests, and been SAFER for the environment (as they don't reproduce uncontrollably), than existing strains. Far more damage that has been caused by transporting 'naturally' occurring plant and animal strains to new environments. No genetic engineering involved, it's an all natural destabilization of an ecosystem.

And we've been doing GM for centuries, just not as safely or directly. Where do you think all those dog breeds came from (some of which cannot even reproduce without human intervention at this point)? You think the corn you eat was the original strain?

It's rather annoying that so many people still jump to blaming man or god when nature goes 'wrong', most of whom have no knowledge of the science they comment on. Yes, there are risks with GM, but the risks in not taking advantage of this technology are far greater, just more familiar.

Wow, how did this become a discussion about GM crops?

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And the reason is...

increased solar activity. The same reason we have 'global warming' and 'climate change'. In ten years time, the doomsayers will threaten us with 'global cooling', when the solar cycle drops to a lower level.

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GM crops...

Perhaps we should be looking at whether GM crops are the result of this instead of blaming or even saying that it's not the case when we aren't even sure if it isn't.

Modifying the genes / DNA strands to come out with new strains is a science in its infancy still yet. Scientists are not yet even sure of whether a minor change can cause a 'domino effect' or not, seeing as these changes can occur subtlety over a period of time.

Furthermore, changes to these genes can cause other changes as well as ways of how things work as it was with the natural occuring plants.

So, don't discount the possibility of this happening.

We haven't been doing GM for centuries. What we have been doing is to use 'natural' means of coming out with new strains by artificially pollinating / inseminating plants/animals. We did not directly splice the genes in as you would call it, so no. GM is still in its infancy.

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Anonymous Coward

Easy, they're all in my attic..

I get WAY too many visits from bees to suspect a shortage - I wish..

Oh, and has anyone looked at what's happening to the wasps? same argument, they're all {BASH} bzzz {SPLAT} here too..

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Einstein gives us 4 years...

"There is almost no difference from GM food, than from food altered through cross breeding, in effect, it's the same result"

mmm yes, and there is almost no difference between H(2)O and H(2)SO(4)...

Einstein once stated that without honey bees to pollinate our plants, world food stocks would collapse completely within 4 years... So, this is how the Humanity dies, not with a bang, but an empty stomach?

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Possibly GM?

Re Chaosvoyager's query:

GM got implicated in CCD because to the possibility that pollen containing the Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) toxin that protects the GM crop may be affecting the bees. One possible pathway, for which there is some evidence, is that the small amounts of the toxin lowers the immune system of the bees, making them more susceptible to disease. It has been noted that the few surviving bees in a dying colony are show signs of diminished immune response. They are frequently sick from multiple bacterial and fungal infections.

The Bt pollen can be found a long way downwind of the crop, particularly from wind-pollenated crops like maize.

Hopefully, this is a red herring. We would be in deep doo-doo if GM was the cause of CCD. Monsanto et al would have to pull out all their stops to develop a GM bee that is resistant to Bt.

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That does get me Thinking...

Ian Orchard,

That was the most specific, reasoned, and useful response I have seen in a long time. Something like that, if true, could very well play a part in CCD.

Nothing to add, other than I wish more posts were like that (including mine :) ). Thanks for the insight.

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